Saturday, June 10, 2017

Roy Buchanan - 1975 [1988] "Live Stock"

Live Stock is a 1975 live album by Roy Buchanan released on Polydor. The album documents a show consisting of blues standards and a few originals played in New York City, with an additional song ("I'm Evil") added from a later show in Evanston, Illinois. The cover photo was taken and sent to Roy by Australian music commentator Glenn A Baker.

Live Stock is, reportedly, one of two Buchanan albums that greatly influenced Jeff Beck, who dedicated a song to Buchanan on his 1975 album Blow by Blow. Buchanan's last album with Polydor, it was partly made to fulfill his contractual obligations so he could move on and accept Ahmet Ertegun's offer to sign with Atlantic.

By the time this long-player hit the street, Roy Buchanan (guitar/vocals) had already departed from his oft-acrimonious relationship with Polydor Records. To their credit, the label issued Live Stock (1975), which captured the artist in performance at Town Hall in New York City on November 27, 1974. This disc features the recently corralled combo of Bill Price (vocals), John Harrison (bass), Malcolm Lukens (keyboards), and Byrd Foster (drums/vocals). Interestingly, the instrumentalists would reconvene behind Buchanan for his next two studio albums, A Street Called Straight (1976) and Loading Zone (1977), as well as the thoroughly superior, import-only Live in Japan (2003). With the exception of the seminal Snakestretchers, this aggregate would stay with the guitarist for longer than any of his numerous other support bands. Practically by default, having returned Buchanan to the stage, the music instantly becomes more conducive to inspiration. The set list highlights both a sampling from earlier efforts, as well as a few covers that are personalized by Buchanan's inimitable stringed artistry. Whether by design or serendipity, each track focuses on his animated solos. Ranging from the driving boogie of Roy Milton's "Reelin' and Rockin" [note: not to be confused with Chuck Berry's rock & roll anthem of virtually the same name] to the stinging fretwork that commences the Memphis soul of Al Green's slithery "I'm a Ram," Buchanan is undeniably at the peak of his abilities. The spirited reading of "Further on up the Road" is particularly worthwhile, as his leads alternately from a rapid-fire slide action to emphatic wails that punctuate the melody with equal measures of deadly accuracy and limber precision. Live Stock is a primary recommendation for all dimensions of blues guitar lovers and those interested in experiencing the craftsmanship of the man once hailed as "The Greatest Unknown Guitarist In The World." Hardcore collectors and the like should also be aware of the essential nine-plus minute rendering of Neil Young's "Down by the River," which was recorded at this show, yet remained unissued until its inclusion on Sweet Dreams: The Anthology (1992) double-disc set. Equally as impressive, and as highly recommended, is the posthumously released archival American Axe: Live in 1974 (2003), as well as the previously mentioned Live in Japan (2003) -- both of which have the same musicians and similarly exceptional results.

First heard 'Can I Change My Mind' on KSHE in St Louis, summer 1975, while painting an older neighbor's fence(!). At the time I was a 'rock & roll only' fool, (thus the KSHE) but the groove on that tune killed me: I put the brush down and just stood there listening. Never knew who it was, or even the name of the tune, though much later had hints that it might be some guy named Roy Buchanan, never could find out for sure and never heard it again. 39 years go by, now I play guitar, bass, sax, and if it's got no groove, I am not interested! Stumbled onto Roy Buchanan earlier this year as a blues man, heard that this album was very good, so bought it unheard. You can imagine my joy when the CD got to track 5, and out of the stereo comes 'Can I Change My Mind' - that same song from my teen years - once again I put down what I was doing just to listen, and listen again, and again. It was like meeting a childhood friend you've not seen in decades.

Recorded At – Town Hall, New York
Recorded By – Record Plant Mobile Studio

Track listing:

1 Reelin' And Rockin' 2:11
2 Hot Cha                4:00
3 Further On Up The Road 4:39
4 Roy's Bluz              8:53
5 Can I Change My Mind 6:17
6 I'm A Ram        4:14
7 I'm Evil                6:01


Guitar – Roy Buchanan
Bass – John Harrison
Drums – Byrd Foster*
Keyboards – Malcolm Lukens
Lead Vocals – Billy Price
Lead Vocals – Roy Buchanan (4,7)



  2. Hi Crimhead420,

    thank you for the hard work, but I was wondering if you could help me find the Sitar Power album by Ashwin Batish.

    1. Ashwin Batish- 1987 "Sitar Power"

    2. Wwooaahh thank you!!

  3. got this, vinyl version. wonderful album. many thanks!

  4. Thanks
    I've always had my reservations about RB...Just subjective impressions...but I'm coming round...Enjoying this album now

  5. I used to live not far from where that shop used to be in Parramatta, Sydney.